Odyssey Ecomagination


Radha Prathi visits GE’s eco-friendly facility called Odyssey on the outskirts of the city. It is aimed at curbing all the ills of pollution and energy consumption

When imagination is translated into reality, the element of jubilation at the success is inevitable, but if it happens to be “Ecomagination”—a green dream that has taken the shape of real(i)ty, nearer home then it deserves a larger round of applause.

Recently, GE the multinational company which is housed in green environs in the outskirts of the city has added a model eco-friendly facility called Odyssey to John F Welch Technology Center (JFWTC), aimed at curbing all the ills of pollution and energy consumption which has become synonymous with progress these days.

The sprawling site has many buildings amid verdant plants and lovely landscapes, but the new building has become the cynosure of the area not merely for its novelty but also its “eco-concern.”

The mammoth structure that spreads over 3,85,000 square feet will be accommodating around 2000 staff. The green building which aims at being certified by LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) has left no stone unturned to realise its idealistic goals of doing its little bit in conserving the resources to the maximum possible extent.
When the building was formally inaugurated during the second week of March, Dr Mark Little, Senior Vice President – GE Global Research remarked, “GE greatly values the well developed intellectual capital that India has to offer. The Odyssey building is a shining example of how JFWTC continues to be a leader across the company in meeting our own ambitious environmental goals through ecomagination.”

The building has some unique features that take charge of the green drive besides saving a pretty penny at a  time when the world is staggering under the twin monsters of recession and global warming.

For instance, the lighting and ventilating systems are in tune with nature and there is optimum capitalisation of daylight and fresh air wherever possible.

When compared to a standard building, the Odyssey will not only prove to be economic in terms of maintenance by cutting down around 30 per cent of operating costs but will also save 25 per cent of energy by availing natural ventilation to a large extent thereby reducing 1593 tonnes per annum of Green House Gas (GHG) emissions into the environment.

Dip in energy consumption

Variable Frequency Drives (VFD) have been incorporated in the air conditioning and ventilation systems besides the pumps and fans.

This system matches the speed of the motor with the load requirements, the resulting in a considerable dip in energy consumption.
The VFD is complemented by Vapor absorption machine (VAM) at strategic points to take care of cost-effective refrigeration.

The process of VAM helps in converting heat sources such as steam, hot water, natural gas and oil into chilled water thereby converting an obvious disadvantage into an advantage.

Recycled water usage

GE takes pride in using recycled water for flushing toilets, maintenance, construction and gardening purposes.
They have installed an in-house waste water treatment plant to serve the purpose and the remnant sludge is then disposed off in their onsite incinerator.

This time around they have decided to dry the sludge further to cut down on the energy used to operate the incinerator and also save 700,000 litres of water per in the process.

The rain harvesting systems that have been installed in the buildings hope to resuscitate the water table besides making the campus self sufficient on water counts in the long run.

Though every building in the GE site is eco-friendly, Odyssey is ahead of them by miles for the simple reason that every little detail has been looked into. Apart from energy saving features, the structure sports grit wash external instead of granite which is simple to install and comparatively inexpensive.

The exteriors of the building have been painted with specially formulated heat reflective paint called Albedo keeping in mind the tropical weather of the region.

The woodwork in the building is sourced from ‘Forest Stewardship Council Wood’ which is grown exclusively for farming.

Dr Guillermo Wille, Managing Director, JFWTC, takes pride in the fact when he remarked “Our efforts to help make the world greener is seen through our technology efforts in developing environment-friendly products and various initiatives in our center that engage our employees.”

Going green has certainly become the order of the day for the people across the globe are able to see the – tangible and intangible benefits of going the verdant way.

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